Donald Trump is attacking both Jews and the left with one clean blow

From The Guardian UK:

Anti-Semitism and anti-leftism share a violent and intimate history that is being revived under Donald Trump

Thu 12 Dec 2019

On Thursday, Donald Trump signed an executive order that defines Judaism as a nationality. In the process, he also effectively defined some 7.5 million American Jews as dual nationals, with dual loyalties. This is an anti-semitic trope with a long, ugly history. It was precisely that kind of logic which helped unleash the murderous pogroms that my great grandfather fled in Eastern Europe.

Ostensibly, Trump’s order was a ploy to crack down on the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses. It will enable the Department of Education to ban the protest movement–a solidarity call from Palestinian civil society to bring an help end the Israeli occupation there–as legally discriminatory under civil rights law, ironically. It’s a throwback of the worst kind to have an attack on Jews and one on the left so clearly intertwined.

When my great grandfather arrived in the United States, he moved around a bit before eventually opening a shoe store and settling into a comfortable middle class life in a relatively sleepy stretch of Southern New Jersey. But many others who left Europe for the US during the same period landed and made their lives in cities like New York, where Yiddish-language papers like the Forvarts became organs of working class life. Socialist Jewish labor organizers in unions like the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union led strikes and changed laws, improving living standards for people around the country subject to low wages and long hours, and helping define the relationship between capital and labor in America more broadly. In the US and abroad, this kind of activism was a threat to big business, which joined forces with virulent strains of right-wing nationalism to define Jewish life as inherently foreign, and inherently dangerous.

Anti-Semitism and anti-communism – and anti-leftism more broadly – share a violent and intimate history that stretches from Nazi Germany to the House Un-American Activities Committee to the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Charges of Judeo-Bolshevism have been a premise for limiting the scope of who deserves basic rights and citizenship. Like racism and sexism, anti-Semitism has oozed through history and as such is hardly limited to one side of the political spectrum. But despite their bad-faith accusations of anti-Semitism against left-wing politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, today’s increasingly radical right is reviving this nasty trend more plainly than in decades, and making life more dangerous for Jews from Pittsburgh to Germany.

While they might carry a soft spot for Benjamin Netanyahu, strongmen in the model of Trump, Viktor Orbán, Jair Bolsonaro will never be friends to the Jews. Attempts to close off countries to immigrants and anyone else not included in these politicians’ tribal concepts of nationhood have historically worked out poorly for Jews, which is why Jewish organizers have in the US and elsewhere joined in solidarity with struggles for civil rights and more humane immigration policies. As the climate crisis threatens to displace millions in the coming decades, fighting off xenophobic right-wing populists and their attacks on the left has never been more important.

With the political center collapsing and temperatures quite literally rising, politics throughout much of the world are beginning to look something like they did about a century ago, when Rosa Luxemburg recalled a line from Friedrich Engels: “Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.”

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HRC Mourns Nikki Kuhnhausen, 17-Year-Old Trans Girl Murdered in Washington

From HRC:

By Elliott Kozuch
December 18, 2019

HRC is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nikki Kuhnhausen, a transgender girl who was killed in Vancouver, Washington. Kuhnhausen was 17 when she was last seen in June and her body was only found this month. David Bogdanov has been arrested and charged with her murder. Kuhnhausen’s cause of death is unknown at this time.

Kuhnhausen’s death is at least the 24th known transgender or gender non-conforming person killed this year. She enjoyed sharing videos of her dancing and singing on her Facebook, and she often posted memes to entertain her friends.

Her loved ones have taken to social media to mourn her passing. “[Y]ou my dear didn’t deserve this … rest with God now,” someone shared. Others have called her “gorgeous” and “a beautiful soul.”

In November, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence.

These victims are not just numbers or headlines. They were real people worthy of dignity and respect, of life and love.

There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. While transgender people in Washington are explicitly protected across many aspects of daily life, including housing and employment, and are covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation — the state does not have a law that prohibits bias rage or so-called “panic” defenses for criminal acts. Furthermore, Vancouver does not have an LGBTQ liaison in the city government or police department, according to the 2019 Municipal Equality Index.

Despite marginal gains in state and local policies that support and affirm transgender people, recent years have been marked by anti-LGBTQ attacks at all levels of government. We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.

HRC will continue to hold the Trump-Pence administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.

This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color — particularly Black transgender women — must cease.

For more information about HRC’s transgender justice work, visit

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Cracking the code of bias against transgender athletes

From Out Sports:

A peek at the transphobe’s playbook.

By Karleigh Webb
Dec 3, 2019

Transgender participation in sport has come to the forefront in the last few years at all levels, from youth leagues to the Olympics. And that’s led to backlash from many groups and individuals who are supported by and stand up for those who have always maintained an anti-LGBTQ position.

On November 20, Outsports contributor Ken Schultz looked into what’s behind a recent poll by Rasmussen, which concluded a majority of Americans oppose transgender inclusion in sports.

What he found were polling methods and loaded questions with terms that slant toward creating results opposing trans inclusion.

In his analysis, Schultz stated: “In order to move the debate in that more inclusive direction, we need to educate the public on these kinds of biased euphemisms and anti-trans code words that transphobes use to sway public opinion.”

As a sports journalist, a sports fan and as a participating transgender athlete, I couldn’t agree more with my Outsports colleague. When you look in the transphobe’s playbook, you find a number of varied tactics designed to make bigotry look reasonable.

My examination here will look at a recent piece of propaganda making the rounds and the tactics it employs. The poster below was created by an operative for an anti-trans organization.


1. Immediately sell the point that trans women are not women.

Willful, deliberate misgendering is a critical piece of this con game. The quote used at the top of this image is an example of the conditioning. It’s also the tactic of websites such as Breitbart, The Blaze and RedState, who ruthlessly target transgender female athletes. Consider the example of cyclist Dr. Veronica McKinnon, who is one of the most targeted trans athletes in the world right now, ever since winning her first UCI Masters track cycling championship in 2018. She had barely reached the winner’s podium when the “clickbaiter” sites screamed headlines such as “Man Pedals Faster at the Women’s World Cycling Championships”, and “Transgender female cyclist place first against biological women”

The body copy of their articles stays with this theme. There is consistent use of terms such as “biological males” and “biological females”, which is passive-aggressive misgendering. Some sites don’t even bother with such backhanded attempts, and neither do the professional political transphobe groups. In the Alliance Defending Freedom’s complaint to the Department of Education concerning Connecticut high school athletes Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, the 29-page document consistently refers to both girls as “boys” and “biological males”.

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Punk pocha pioneer Alice Bag presents: ‘No Xmas gifts for Nazis’

Remember Nazis love coal so give them lumps of coal

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Fort Worth trans inmate sues Texas over law that prevents her from changing legal name

From The Fort Worth Star Telegram:

By Kaley Johnson and Tessa Weinberg
December 06, 2019

Fort Worth

Three transgender inmates, including one from Carswell Prison in Fort Worth, are arguing that a Texas law that prohibits them from legally changing their names is unconstitutional.

The women are suing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton in a lawsuit filed in the Austin division of district court Wednesday. They, and their attorneys, argue the inability to legally change their names to reflect their gender is cruel and unusual punishment.

Abbott and Paxton’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.

Texas Family Code 45.103 prohibits a person with a felony conviction from changing their name within two years of serving their sentence. Those in the lawsuit want the state to declare the provision unconstitutional and allow the women — Donna Langan at FMC Carswell, Teresa De Barbarac at FCI Texarkana and Alexandra Carson, who was recently released from prison — to change their names to reflect their gender.

Attorney Brian McGiverin said denying trans people the right to change their name increases their risk of suicide or being the assault victims, and makes everything from employment to housing more difficult. Forcing trans inmates to be more vulnerable to these risks violates the Eighth Amendment, McGiverin said.

Emmett Schelling, the executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, known as TENT, said that barring transgender inmates from changing their names until two years after leaving prison or completing parole is enforcing “one of the most cruel punishments that you can give to a trans person,” after they’ve already served their sentence.

“I’ve already got a big strike against me because I have to reveal my criminal background,” Schelling said of transgender people who are former inmates seeking employment. “And so then on top of it, you’re basically forcing people to be in a situation where they’re showing an ID that doesn’t match who they are.”

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Trump’s Rollback of Transgender Rights Extends Through Entire Government

From The New York Times:

Whether it means serving in the military, working for a federal contractor or seeking medical help, regulations that once protected transgender people are under attack.

By Lola Fadulu
Dec. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Nicolas Talbott, a graduate student at Kent State University in Ohio who is transgender, was told in May that because of President Trump’s transgender ban in the military, he would no longer be eligible for placement as an Army officer. He could continue participating in the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, but the benefits that he joined for — health insurance and student loan forgiveness — were no longer available to him.

“Everyone else would walk away with a job in the United States Army, and I would walk away with just more student loan debt,” Mr. Talbott said.

Mr. Talbott’s experience is just one version of a broader story unfolding across vast portions of the federal government as the Trump administration has rolled back a wide array of protections for transgender people, many of them put in place during the Obama administration. The Obama White House used its powers to declare that legal and legislative efforts to defend against sex discrimination should apply to gender identity. The Trump White House called that executive overreach — and reversed course wherever it could.

Across the country, transgender people and groups that are advocates for them have wrestled with the effect of that shift as they have learned of policy changes from the departments of Education and Labor to the departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, from the Pentagon to the Justice Department to the Office of Personnel Management.

Last month, a United States district judge struck down a Health and Human Services Department rule that would, among other changes, expand the protections for health care workers who refuse to treat transgender patients if it clashed with their beliefs, the third judge to do so.

But so many similar regulations are in place or pending that advocates for transgender rights are hardly relieved.

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